What Steve Parish needs to learn about managing change

Anyone familiar with bringing change in an organisation will realise the challenge that Steve Parish and CPFC are facing with traditionalists demanding to keep their seat in the light of an ambitious idea to make the Holmesdale stand at Selhurt Park the envy of England for atmosphere. In any given situation there will be people who want change for its own sake, people who embrace change easily, people who are resistant but open and people who resist change at all costs however beneficial. In any organisation or set up there is usually inbuilt resistance to change.

Sometimes people resist change because there is a cost to them. Others because they are scared of change even if it doesn’t directly affect them. Some because quite frankly they are busy body nit pickers who delight in picking apart any proposal.

Good leadership involves knowing where you want to go and convincing people that even though it may be painful it is worth it. (This is not achieved by doing surveys however laudable a survey may be).

The fact is that every time CPFC bring change there is resistance – whether it’s not having stripes in the kit, changing the badge, reconfiguring the ground, renaming the ground, changes to the bars etc. I’m sure Dave would get a barrage of complaints if he changed the BBS interface – but one day it will so old and dated that only a few traditionalists will still use it.
There will always be some people who will resist the change and most often some people who will lose out due to change.

In some senses the Palace Ultras – Holmesdale Fanatics have done ½ the job for cpfc through their statement. They have provided vision that has led some people to say that they can get behind the idea even though there will be a personal cost in moving from their seat.

People need to face the fact that almost any change will result in some people losing out. When safe standing is allowed there will be some people who lose out. When the proposed new main stand is eventually built there will be some who lose out.

Parish is currently left with several unpalatable alternatives. Be with out the raucous support from the Fanatics that has been the envy of many premier league clubs or risk upsetting long standing supporters. The ill thought out idea of creating a singing section in Block B without the fanatics was a compromise that has clearly failed.

Now is the time for Parish to step up to the plate. Either he has to bite the bullet and go with the Fanatics vision and enthusiasm whatever the cost to individuals in moving their seats or he has to stick with the current plan to wait until some unspecified moment in the future when he is able to bring in rail seating (which will still upset some people) or wholesale changes following the construction of the new main stand and have a singing section that is unlikely to be supported by the Fanatics.

This is a defining moment for Parish and his leadership of Crystal Palace.